PBA: Meralco avoids elimination, holds off Magnolia in Game 5

Meralco stayed alive after overcoming Magnolia, 102-98, in Game 5 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series Wednesday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The Bolts went on a late surge, outscoring the Hotshots 20-8 behind Allein Maliksi’s hot shooting to erase a six-point deficit before holding on to force a Game 6 on Friday.

Maliksi poured in a game-high 29 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the three-point area to power Meralco’s gutsy win.

With the game tied at 90, Maliksi made three free throws followed by back-to-back triples to put the Bolts ahead by six, 99-93, with 1:21 left.

“We had our backs against the wall so there was no tomorrow for us,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black whose team now trail 3-2 in the series. “It was a very gutsy performance from my players.”

“Magnolia played really well to shut us off and eliminate us but we stood our ground and we kept our composure.”

Calvin Abueva converted off a lob to cut Magnolia’s deficit to two, 100-98, with 8.4 seconds but Raymond Almazan, who’s back after suffering an ankle sprain in Game 2, iced the game from the stripe in Meralco’s ensuing possession.

Maliksi finished with a career playoff-high with 29 points, on 7-of-8 shooting from deep, while John Pinto had 24 points, a best for his PBA tenure, and five assists to lead Meralco.

Chris Newsome also breached the 20-point mark with 23 points, five rebounds, and six assists for the Bolts.

Mark Barroca had 25 points, six rebounds, and four assists to lead the Hotshots while Abueva added 19 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.

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